Charlie Sparrow and the Secret of Flight: Tales of Tree City, Book 1

D.F. Anderson, illus. by Daniel McCloskey. Underdog, $9.95 (86p) ISBN 978-0-9918003-5-3
Anderson’s buoyant, if slight, chapter book is set in Tree City, where sparrows are flightless and rely on a system of elaborate staircases to ascend into trees. When the titular young sparrow, Charlie, discovers that he can fly after an accidental fall, his concerned parents take him to see Dr. Nightingale, who declares that Charlie suffers from “Leaping Syndrome,” or “the Leap,” which causes him to exhibit “an extreme and dangerous urge to leap off things.” The only cure, Dr. Nightingale suggests, is to remove Charlie’s feathers. Charlie escapes and discovers a community of other birds with similar abilities who consider the love of leaping to be something fun and entirely organic. Anderson offers a fast-moving story with an allegorical feel that touches on themes of fitting in, embracing differences, and finding like-minded friends. McCloskey illustrates in pared-down line art that captures the personalities of the bird characters, who return in a sequel, Charlie Sparrow and the Book of Flight. Ages 6–9. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Release date: 01/01/2018
Genre: Children's
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